Founded in 1910, the Original Tuxedos have the longest history of continuous performance in New Orleans. The last 25 years of its nearly 100-year history have been under the brilliant direction of Bob French, carrying forward the raucous, irresistible sounds of classic New Orleans jazz.
The late Oscar "Papa" Celestin organized the Original Tuxedo Jazz Band in 1910. This was during the "Storyville" era when jazz was still spelled j-a-s-s and jass was New Orleans music!
The band's mainstays are the top-flight musicians who have been parts of the group over the many years. The list includes pioneers Lorenzo Tio, Jr., Alphonse Picou, Lee Collins, Baby Dodds, Zutty Singleton, Johnny St. Cyr and the immortal Louis Armstrong.
For forty-four years, under "Papa" Celestin's leadership, the band performed at elite private parties, and select venues around town, eventually settling in at the Paddock Lounge on Bourbon Street. After Celestin's passing in 1954, trombonist Eddie Pierson took over the leadership and maintained the band until his death in 1958. From 1958 to 1977, banjo player Albert "Papa" French led the band. Under "Papa" French's direction, the band maintained its popular performance schedule and also toured Europe.
Following the death of Albert "Papa" French in 1977, Bob French (one of "Papa's" sons) assumed the helm as the band's fourth leader. In this role, Bob has helped maintain the Original Tuxedo Jazz Band's tradition of making the best New Orleans music possible.
The Original Tuxedo Jazz Band has enthralled jazz fans worldwide for more than 92 years. The band performed at the inauguration of President Eisenhower, as well as at the White House, the W.C. Handy Festival, and the Newport Jazz Festival. They travel abroad several times a year, performing in Europe and the Caribbean. Additionally, the Original Tuxedo Jazz Band has delighted the audiences of the Prime Minister of Ireland, the President of France and King Hussein of Jordan as well as the Prime Minister of Dominica with New Orleans' most precious gift, New Orleans Jazz!